SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — A Twentynine Palms Marine took the stand Thursday in a pretrial hearing of his former neighbor, also a Marine, accused in the slaying of his pregnant wife.
Jonathan Corwin testified against Chris Lee, who is accused of killing Corwin’s wife, Erin, who was reportedly pregnant at the time of her death.
CBS2’s Tom Wait said a lot of testimony shocked the courtroom.
“He was having an affair with my wife, and all contact and friendship stopped,” Corwin said.
The account of the affair was backed up by another neighbor and mutual friend.
“I walked down in the morning to give my child a bottle, and I saw Erin Corwin laying on the couch and Chris Lee was leaning over her and they were kissing,” said Aisling Malakie, a neighbor to both the victim and defendant.
But perhaps the most chilling testimony came from one of Corwin’s friends, who said Corwin texted her shortly before she vanished. Corwin’s friend said she may have been expecting a marriage proposal from Lee around the same time he is accused of killing her.
Corwin, 19, disappeared in June. Her body was found in an abandoned mineshaft in a remote area of Joshua Tree National Park.
Prosecutors believe Lee killed Corwin in order to cover up their affair.
One of Lee’s friends was called to the stand to bolster the prosecution’s theory that Lee carefully planned the murder.
The D.A. asked Conor Malakie about comments Lee allegedly made about disposing of bodies. “What did he say in particular?” asked the D.A.
“That it’s easy to get away with. Things of that nature,” said Malakie.
Wait reported that court observers also heard for the first time how Corwin was murdered. She was strangled, likely by a nylon cord.
Corwin told friends she was pregnant before she disappeared, but because her body had decomposed, the coroner could not make a determination.
Lee did not testify.
The judge said based on all the evidence, the case will go to trial.